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DIY Cold-Brew Coffee

May 15, 2020

Another cold brew coffee post? Really? To my credit this post was originally published in 2014 and was desperately in need of a picture refresh but also I’d like to consider myself an OG cold brew coffee drinker.

Want to make your own Cold Brew Coffee? This step-by-step article will walk you through the process of making it at home #coldbrew

First of all, I love coffee. Nothing new here. But my stomach doesn’t love coffee so much. Back when cold brew first came on the scene (I’m looking at you 2010-2012), my ears perked up when I heard that cold brew coffee is less acidic and can do wonders for anyone who is sensitive to the acidity of coffee. Hi! That’s me! C and I were living in NYC at the time and luckily were living in a place where cold brew was becoming increasingly popular…and expensive. Our weekly grocery budget for 2 people was $50 (seriously!) and one meal out so there wasn’t a whole lot of room for a $4-$5 cup of cold brew. I became determined to master cold brew. The only problem? All the tutorials online involved industrial sized containers and equipment a 21 year old broke post-grad definitely did not own. And so I took things into my own hands and that’s how I mastered the perfect cold brew coffee process.

Today I’m walking you through the process step-by-step. Let’s jump in…

What is Cold Brew Coffee?

The name pretty much says it all, but essentially cold brew coffee is coffee that is brewed using a cold water process rather than heating it up. Coffee grinds are left to soak in water for 12-24 hours to absorb the coffee benefits rather than having it released in boiling water. Why might one want to cold brew their coffee? For a couple of reasons:

1. It’s less acidic – heading up the coffee beans releases more acidity, however when the beans are not heated that acidity is not released making it easier on your digestion.

2. It’s stronger – this cold brew makes a concentrate so it’s STRONG. You can dilute it or get a serious buzz. Up to you!

3. It’s cold – DUH. The summer is hot – make sure your coffee is cold and why not get the benefits of cold brew instead of throwing that day old hot coffee in the fridge?

DIY Cold Brew Coffee Recipe so you can make your own cold brew at home #coldbrew #coffee

What do you need to make Cold Brew Coffee?

No industrial equipment required here. You’ll need just a few jars or containers (mason jars work great!) and a few other items to make this cold brew coffee recipe.

-1-2 large jars (make sure they have a wide mouth which is easier for pouring)

-a nut milk bag or several pieces of cheesecloth

-At least 1 cup of quality, coarsely ground coffee beans (you can also buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself)

-a wooden spoon, for stirring

-filtered water

How Do You Make Cold Brew Coffee?

Let’s get to the cold brew making process…

1. Measure out 1 cup of coffee beans and grind them coarsely in your coffee grinder. If getting from a coffee shop ask it to be ground for french press as it will make it much easier to strain.

Step 1: Grind Beans for Cold Brew Coffee

2. In a large jar or jug combine the coffee grounds and water. Stir and then cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours (or longer if you plan ahead!).

Step 2: Combine ground coffee and water for cold brew coffee

3. After it’s “brewed” for at least 12 hours, remove from the refrigerator and strain through two layers of cheese cloth or a nut milk bag into a large bowl or jug.

Step #3: Strain DIY Cold Brew Coffee with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth

4. Add several ice cubes to a glass, add pour cold brew over ice.

Step #4: pour cold brew over ice

5. Add in any other ingredients such as milk, sugar or add-ins listed below.

Step #5 for DIY Cold Brew Coffee: Add milk to cold brew over ice

Cold-Brew Add-Ins

Cold brew coffee is strong. Definitely stronger than regular coffee. I usually drink mine with a bit of milk. Here are some suggestions of what to add:

1. Homemade Almond Milk – always a classic!

2. Homemade Oat Milk – Haven’t tried oat milk? Now’s your chance. It’s easy to make and tastes great with coffee.

3. Add a splash of cold brew to this Iced Golden Milk Latte

4. Spice things up a notch with this Iced Horchata Latte

Cold brew coffee and what to do with all those cold brew coffee grinds leftover

What to do with Leftover Coffee Grinds

Don’t let those coffee grinds go to waste! Here are a few ideas of what to do with them:

– Try making this DIY Vanilla Latte Soap

– DIY this coffee, face and body scrub

– Add to your garden! Note – only add to acid loving plants like Azeleas and Blueberries


DIY Cold-Brew Iced Coffee

Step #4: pour cold brew over ice

Start cold-brewing your own coffee for the best iced coffee ever! This easy step-by-step recipe tutorial makes cold-brew iced coffee in 12 hours!

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 hours
  • Yield: 5 cups 1x
  • Category: Drinks


  • 1 cup good quality ground coffee beans, ground coarsely
  • 5 cups water
  • Ice cubes (I freeze leftover coffee in an ice cube tray)
  • optional: milk, sugar, spices
  • supplies: large jug or jar, cheesecloth or a nut-milk bag, wooden spoon


  1. In a large jar or jug combine coffee grounds and water.
  2. Cover and let sit for at least 12 hours (or longer) in the refrigerator.
  3. Remove from refrigerator and stir with a wooden spoon.
  4. Strain coffee through two layers of cheese cloth over a large bowl or jug or use a nut-milk bag (that’s what I use).
  5. Add several ice cubes to a glass and pour 1 cup of iced coffee on top.
  6. Add in milk, sugar or mixings of choice.
  7. Store iced coffee in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Like this recipe? Try these other drink recipes:


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  • Reply
    Arman @ thebigmansworld
    May 25, 2014 at 5:19 am

    Another thing you’re maven brain has taught me…and shared in Common. although, I walked solo through Union square with my iced coffee with cream. The amount of $$ I spent on it from Starbucks before realising the coffee trucks had the same 1/4 of the price.

  • Reply
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles
    May 25, 2014 at 5:51 am

    I basically grew up on the UES and only in recent years have learned to appreciate and LOVE Union Square. Lately my Fridays involve me heading in and ending up on 14th street for dinner in the area. Too bad you don’t still live here! And yeah, the budgeting thing is a must anywhere but for real in NYC. The prices are just insane and if you don’t leave the city, you lose touch with just how much they are charging you.

  • Reply
    Heather @ Run Like a G!
    May 25, 2014 at 7:17 am

    I wish I liked coffee because I would totally be addicted to this stuff!! I loved this post. I love learning about people and their experiences. This post was kind of perfect for me right now because I have been telling myself that I need to start taking opportunities that come my way instead of being scared! Thank you 🙂

  • Reply
    May 25, 2014 at 7:44 am

    So… I thought I was a coffeeseur (coffee connoisseur)… and I had no idea about real cold brew. Thank the coffee lord (well, you) I’ve now been educated! *Makes note to do this before bed tonight*

  • Reply
    Amanda @ .running with spoons.
    May 25, 2014 at 8:04 am

    I had no idea that real iced coffee was never heated, which makes the coffee lover in me a little ashamed. Buuuuuuut that might be because I’ve never tried to make my own and I barely ever order them since I prefer hot coffee… even in the summer… as long as there’s AC 😆

  • Reply
    Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl
    May 25, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I’ve never made my own iced coffee because most of the recipes I come across seem too complicated. I love the simplicity of this recipe…. can’t wait to try it. I think NYC would really agree with me… I’m vey fast-paced and love the city life. The cost of living, not so much. 😉

  • Reply
    kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    May 25, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I love Ice Coffee!! But my homemade version is left over coffee from the store that I keep in the refrigerator over night. I am def doing this from now on though!

  • Reply
    Jen @ Chase the Red Grape
    May 25, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Iced coffee is where it’s at! I have to make my own as most folk in the UK (outside of London) think iced coffee is a frappucinno … :-I

    But at least I know the cold brew secret! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Frances
    May 25, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    This is a life saver. I have just discovered the brilliance of iced coffee and can’t wait to try it at home. Thanks for this tutorial! And um, feel free to give me lessons on budgeting 😉

  • Reply
    May 25, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    I absolutely love making cold brew – it’s almost like an art to me! It’s so much fun experimenting with different types of coffee grounds and strainers. Definitely helps saves money – though I’m still a sucker for iced coffee from local places! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 25, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I’ve never tried it, but so excited to try it out for the summer months!

  • Reply
    Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen
    May 26, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I love you for this! JZ and I bought cold brew iced coffee from my favourite local coffee shop… for $7 each!! We couldn’t believe how pricey it was. Mind you, it was delicious and totally worth it, but I definitely won’t be making a habit out of it.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2014 at 9:07 am

    You’re such a homemaker. I HATE MOVING. HATE. HATE. HATE. But I think you should move to Edina so we can be housewives.

  • Reply
    May 26, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    OMG I’ve never made iced coffee but good to know it’s stupid-easy to do. I’ve already spent a fortune on iced coffee like two weeks into iced coffee season. Now all I need to do is find nut milk bags… xoxo

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    May 26, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Ermygerd I spend like half of my income on iced coffee. I’m addicted even though my stomach hates me with every sip. This looks amaaaaze!

  • Reply
    Kammie @ Sensual Appeal
    May 26, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Yeah I need to start making my own coffee! I’ve been buying a ton (hot and iced). I don’t like hot coffee over ice either…it gets so watery! I’ll have to try making my own iced coffee soon, I haven’t ever tried this. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    So I’m lazy when it comes to iced coffee and will just stick with this morning’s leftovers paired with some ice, raw sugar, and almond milk. That is, unless you want to make this for me.

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    May 27, 2014 at 11:27 am

    i lived with my family in NY so didnt have to really worry about finances then but now,,im not sure if i can afford to live and be a foodie in that city 🙁 on a side note, yes i did spend a lot of money on coffee while i was there as well. thank you for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Alex @ Kenzie Life
    May 27, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    So I’m actually really glad you posted this, because I’ve been wanting to make good iced coffee! I’ve been making homemade iced chai lattés and it saves me so much money!

  • Reply
    Gabby @ the veggie nook
    May 29, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I adore cold brew coffee and make it myself every summer! Can’t be bothered to spend money on it! Hollah tight budget!! I don’t know how you managed in NYC, sometimes I find Toronto overwhelming in ALL THE WAYS. Mad props girl!

  • Reply
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth
    June 5, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Glad I found this before I lost half my paychecks to iced coffee at Starbucks this summer. This is so happening during meal prep this weekend 😀
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      June 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

      awesome! Just about to strain mine now! Starbucks and I share a long history but I’m happy to part ways 😉

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Ramblings of Change
    June 7, 2014 at 9:12 am

    I am so so excited to try this! =)

  • Reply
    April 5, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Great coffee recipe Davida. I’ll be making this. This will save me some trips to Starbucks 😀

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      April 5, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Thank you! Has saved me countless times from those dreaded Starbucks trips!

  • Reply
    August 19, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Grinding the beans before making the cold brew is more flavor, Cos it’s fresh enough.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2019 at 5:37 am

    This coffee looks refreshing and tasty. It is surely going to beat the ice teas I have ever tasted.

  • Reply
    July 5, 2019 at 6:19 am

    Looks great and probably taste infinitely better than the coffee shop nearby my apartment.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2019 at 11:45 pm

    I heard the name of cold brew coffee. But I read the instruction on your site first time today. I will try this. Thank you.

  • Reply
    July 24, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Love iced coffee! I would like to add almond milk. But I don’t take regularly because I have ‘tinnitus.’
    But twice a month it is allowed:) So, I was wondering to make the coffee this Sunday and here I saw your post!
    Thanks for this:)

  • Reply
    Kopior Asnodski
    August 4, 2019 at 9:38 am

    I drink Ice coffee all summer, it is one of my favourite things about the heat actually 🙂

    My drinks never look this amazing though 😉

  • Reply
    April 30, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Thank you for this post..
    I bought a toddy maker (for cold brew) 15 yrs, ago or so and was making cold brew back then, but my understanding (not that it really matters) was that you added water to the brew in your cup, then added the milk, so it is not the straight brew and so strong.
    Also, years ago in some restaurants in Peru, the waitress would bring a pot of hot water in one hand and a pot of cold brew in the other so you could heat the coffee and determine the brew strength.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    With as much as I love coffee you would think I would know about cold brew coffee. My dad use to make us iced coffee but heated up the water. Going to try this recipe. Thanks

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